Matson on Music
Nicki Minaj juggles uplift and fire at the Paramount
Nicki Minaj; photos by Bettina Hansen / Seattle Times
"If you're in school make some noise!" shouted Nicki Minaj Saturday at the Paramount Theatre. "That should be the thing you're most proud of right now."
The sold out house screamed, showing Minaj has a lot of young fans. The crossover pop/hip-hop star had an uplifting message for the females, especially, many of whom wore tutus and brightly colored wigs, just like Minaj: "Because ladies, it's not cool to be a loser. I don't care how pretty you are, there will be a time when looks don't matter. Your boobs won't matter. But when you earn what you have, they can say what they say about you — but they can't take it from you."
More wild screaming.
The best song of the evening had an almost opposite message — "Stupid Hoe," a frantic dance anthem about cutting women down for their physical appearance, among other qualities. Believed to be a diss against the wig-wearing rapper Lil' Kim — one of Minaj's main stylistic precursors — the song was thrilling, as Minaj spit fire about a "busted" "hoe," "looking like a lab rat," even if it was quite mean.
Despite her emphasis in her lyrics on uniqueness, Minaj can also be uncreative. She said "What's up Seattle?!" five or six times more than she needed to, just to get applause.
But when she's on a roll, she's undeniable. Top-loading the show with hits, Minaj ensured the crowd felt like they'd gotten their money's worth in the first half hour of her ninety minute set, singing "Dungeon Dragon," "Did It On 'Em," "Beez in the Trap," "Stupid Hoe," "Ass," "Moment 4 Life" and "Starships."
Ending her last American show before going overseas she went out with a bang, with "Super Bass," a triumphant anthem about hot guys.
Minaj has tweaked her image and presentation recently to be more of a positive role model for kids, suiting her audience, which has changed with her music, from hardcore hip-hop to general pop.
At the Paramount — her first headlining show in Seattle — she juggled both those roles like a pro.